And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow with love for one another and for everyone, just as we do for you. May he make your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. Amen.
1 Thessalonians 3:12-13
Is there anyone you know who just exudes the joy of the Lord? You can tell by the ways they interact with disagreeable people and difficult circumstances that they’ve spent some time with Jesus. This overflow of Christlike affection leads them to lead others to God…because inviting and abiding in love is a two-part deal.
This kind of love is what Paul prays over the church of Thessalonica. And it’s the kind of love Christ desires for His church today.
From The Inside Out
The apostle Paul’s prayer is that God’s love would lead them to love others well. Just as God led him to love their church, he prays this same love would keep going the distance. But this prayer doesn’t end with a call to only extend Christ’s love horizontally to others; his prayer is that they’d allow it to change them—and us—from within, too.
He goes on to reveal his hope and desire that God would continue to sanctify their hearts. As a result, they’d be so full of God’s love that it would overflow. Simply put, this love of the Father never ends with us; instead, it leads us to extend it to those around us.
The Greatest Commandments
For some of us, it seems so easy to love others…yet we struggle to pursue holiness in relationship to the Lord. Others of us find it easier to commit to the spiritual disciplines of abiding in the Father…but then we struggle to extend love and compassion to others. Still, the gospel calls us to do both.
The commands to love the Lord wholeheartedly and to love our neighbors as ourselves are the basis of Scripture’s teachings, according to Jesus in Matthew 22:40. Our abiding in Jesus leads us to invite others along with us on the journey.
Which is more difficult for you: abiding or inviting others into Christ’s love? Reflect on the time you’re spending with the Lord. Is His love the source of your love for others?